Banks break at Old Wop­er­ana

Southern Riverina news - - SOUTHERN RIVERINA FLOODS -

In the 13 years Mark and Maryanne Ryan have lived at Old Wop­er­ana near Tocumwal, they’ve never seen a flood their lev­ees could not hold . . . un­til now.

After check­ing all their pro­tec­tion mea­sures on Sun­day, the banks broke overnight caus­ing ‘‘thou­sands of me­gal­itres’’ to surge onto their prop­erty.

‘‘The wa­ter is lap­ping at our back ve­ran­dah,’’ Mrs Ryan said yes­ter­day.

‘‘We went and checked the lev­ees about 8pm (Sun­day) and we were con­fi­dent ev­ery­thing was go­ing to be okay.

‘‘By day­light we re­alised the levee had bro­ken.

‘‘The wa­ter is about a foot deep in the garage and three or four feet deep in the sheds.’’

The Ryans don’t just farm the prop­erty, it’s also a work­ing farm and an­i­mal nurs­ery open to tourists.

Mrs Ryan said all the an­i­mals on the prop­erty are safe, moved to higher ground in their sand­hills or in the home­stead gar­den, but that their crop­ping ven­tures have not been as lucky.

Like many of their neigh­bours, they’ve had crops com­pletely sub­merged and de­stroyed.

The Ryans are cop­ping in­un­da­tion from ev­ery an­gle, with the Mur­ray River across the road from their prop­erty push­ing through a peak and the Na­tive Dog Creek at the rear also rising rapidly.

‘‘It’s come up through var­i­ous de­pres­sions from the river and the cause­way, and it’s com­ing up from the creek.

‘‘We did a fly­over (on Mon­day) and we could see the wa­ter was still rush­ing through the bro­ken lev­ees in some places and out of it at other points, so we think the flood­ing on our prop­erty will re­main fairly steady un­til it stops com­ing in.

‘‘We have seen the wa­ter in the yard drop a lit­tle (from Mon­day to Tues­day) but we think it may be very slow to re­cede.’’

Mrs Ryan said the sup­port from Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil, emer­gency services and com­mu­nity mem­bers has been over­whelm­ing.

She said the offers for help are grate­fully ac­cepted, but can­not be utilised un­til the wa­ter re­cedes and the dam­age can be as­sessed.

‘‘Com­mu­nity re­silience is a won­der­ful thing, and I must say thank you to ev­ery­one,’’ she said.

‘‘We have been over­whelmed by sup­port, offers to help, offers of ac­com­mo­da­tion, offers to clean up, offers of hay and an­i­mal ag­ist­ment.

‘‘We should be okay for now, but we are ma­rooned.’’

Mrs Ryan said one other mes­sage she wanted to strongly con­vey is for peo­ple to stay away from flooded ar­eas.

‘‘We ask peo­ple not to try and come out for a look,’’ she said.

‘‘Please stay safe and don’t try to drive into the flood­wa­ters. The height and speed of the wa­ter and the de­bris flow­ing through is un­be­liev­able.’’

Old Wop­er­ana’s front gate is now in the mid­dle of a lake.

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